Mindfulness Activities for Kids

Proponents say it is possible, albeit challenging, for kids to step away from screens and homework and take some time for mindfulness activities. By now, most of us have heard of “mindfulness,” the practice of focusing attention on the present moment without any judgment. Many adults practice it through meditation, yoga, walking or simply sitting still. But mindfulness is not just for adults. According to mental health experts, it can also be good for children. “Mindfulness helps kids cope with the daily stresses we all face,” says Michael Crowley, an associate professor at Yale Child Study Center and advisor for the Yale-Scholastic Collaborative for Child & Family Resilience. “Mindfulness skills offer a simple but profound way to be present, manage one’s thoughts and emotions, and get more out of life. These are healthy ways of thinking that are incredibly helpful in childhood and adulthood.” Experts say that mindfulness can help... Read more

5 Ways to Build Emotional Skills for Social Media

5 Ways to Build Emotional Skills for Social Media

No one can predict exactly what the digital world will look like in 10 years. There is legitimate concern that a profit-driven metaverse will further erode what young people need to thrive. Conversely, some of our best minds (including young people) are working hard to define what age-relevant, safe, and playful digital platforms free of commercial exploitation might look and feel like. Young people themselves are often at the leading edge of adopting and hacking tools for their purposes. The reality is probably an ongoing push and pull between commercial demands, adolescent needs, and our collective imagination of what is possible online. Media is social as soon as it involves interacting with others. No matter what the future of social media holds, it’s clear that we can do a lot to prepare kids to interact in healthy and meaningful ways online. It is tempting to push off these conversations until... Read more

Prolonged Grief Disorder

Prolonged Grief Disorder

Loss of a loved one and grieving their absence is a universal, yet deeply personal experience. For adults, the death of a partner, parent, child, sibling, or friend can be devastating. For a child, death of a parent, sibling, grandparent or a beloved pet may leave an indelible mark - and cast all the today's and tomorrow's in unrelenting heartache. After a death, many experiences unfold. First is grief, a personal response to the loss. As the emotional and physical experience of loss is expressed, mourning occurs. And finally, bereavement is the period of time where grief and mourning are deeply experienced - and adaptation to life after loss begins. Taking time to grieve and mourn is a widely accepted way to move through a death. But for some, the experience is marked by enormous emotional and physical pain. Instead, the bereaved child or adult is overwhelmed by a profound,... Read more

Good Medicine For Healthy Child Development: Nurturing Relationships

Yet, in recent years it has become clear that families need and deserve support to care for more than just the physical health of their children. What if pediatric care could be transformed to actively partner with parents to better support children’s healthy social and emotional development, too? That is the question that drives the Pediatrics Supporting Parents (PSP) national funder collaborative. To date, six national funders (the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Einhorn Collaborative, Overdeck Family Foundation, Perigee Fund, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation) have committed a total of $13.25 million over five years to invest in aligning clinical practice with a mounting body of evidence that demonstrates the benefits of leveraging pediatric well-care to support improved social and emotional outcomes in young children and to strengthen parent–child relationships by partnering with providers and parents. Significance Of Healthy Social And Emotional Development The first... Read more

How emotions affect your child’s education

How emotions affect your child’s education

Science is revealing how children's feelings help and harm learning. Here's how adults can support kids so they feel, and learn, better. “Honk,” says my 9th grade French teacher on the first day of school. “En français, your name is ‘Honk’.” “Excuse me,” I bleat in front of 35 classmates. “My name is Hank.” “Non, incorrect,” she replied. “En français, and in this class, your name se prononce ‘Honk’.” For two wretched years, I was called Honk by this cruel teacher and snickering students. Five times weekly, I entered the classroom twitching with fear, rage, and shame. The ordeal crippled my self-esteem and GPA. My grade lurked between C- and D because I refused to study for my persecutor. I hated the teacher (mutilating her face in my yearbook), and I subsequently hated the language. My negative emotions destroyed my learning ability. Research indicates my pitiful French performance was a... Read more

3 Daily Activities to Help Kids Handle Their Emotions

3 Daily Activities to Help Kids Handle Their Emotions

Navigating our feelings is a lifelong journey, but we can show kids how to get started on it right.  The shows you watch, books you read, games you play and conversations you have as a family make a big difference in how your little one connects with their emotions and with the world around them. Emotions change frequently throughout the day. One moment, your child may be filled with pride and joy as they share a painting they've been working hard on. But the next can be filled with disappointment, anger and sadness when a cup of spilled water ruins the painting. Navigating our feelings is a lifelong journey. We can support young children in learning important skills like self-awareness, communication and empathizing with others by embedding simple opportunities to identify and express emotions in our daily interactions. Normalize Sharing Feelings as a Family Looking back to your own childhood,... Read more

Why manners matter: Top tips for raising kind kids

Why manners matter: Top tips for raising kind kids

The benefits of teaching kids to be considerate early on go well beyond good manners, with research suggesting that raising young children to be kind is crucial for their development. Having a child that knows when to say please and thank you is just one aspect of why parents should be raising kids to be considerate toward others from an early age. A study by academics in the psychology department at the Canadian University of British Columbia, published in 2012, examined the effect on toddlers when they demonstrated “prosocial” behavior, which refers to showing kindness and generosity toward others. It found that before the age of two, “toddlers exhibit greater happiness when giving treats to others than receiving treats themselves.” The study also showed that children were happier after engaging in “costly giving – forfeiting their own resources – than when giving the same treat at no cost.” Lara Aknin,... Read more

Adult ADHD: A 21st century epidemic?

Adult ADHD: A 21st century epidemic?

The United Kingdom is experiencing dramatic increases in requests for diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults. But what is ADHD, and why is it suddenly becoming something the general public and medical professionals need to be aware of? In this feature, Dr. James Brown and Dr. Alex Conner provide some context. National Teaching Fellow Dr. Conner is a reader in biomedical science communication at the College of Medical and Dental Sciences at the University of Birmingham, U.K. Dr. Brown is a reader in biomedical science at the College of Health and Life Sciences at Aston University, U.K. ADHD is a lifelong neurodevelopmental disorder in which the brain grows differently. This leads to deficient action from the chemicals involved in pleasure and reward. The name ADHD is a little unhelpful as those with the disorder do not have a deficit of attention, more a lack of ability to... Read more

7 ways to support and encourage emotional growth in children and teens

7 ways to support and encourage emotional growth in children and teens

With anxiety levels, low self-esteem and depression reaching an all-time high, how can we help foster more self-care, self-reflection, and growth in children and teens? Self-improvement and personal growth aren’t just areas reserved for adults looking to enrich their lives or enhance their career prospects. They’re important aspects of life that can help us to develop skills and better understand ourselves at any age. According to the latest figures released by Place2Be , 95% of staff at schools are seeing an increase in anxiety levels among students. 86% have noted an increase in low-self esteem, 76% in depression, and 68% in anger. For secondary school staff, 72% have noticed an increase in self-harm, 61% in suicidal thoughts, and 56% in eating difficulties. With less than a quarter (23%) feeling they could regularly access specialist support for students who need it, now more than ever we need to find ways to... Read more

Study looks at influences on children's mental health

Study looks at influences on children’s mental health

Mental health varied fourfold across groups of children according to both the type and amount of relational health risks and social health risks they experienced. As the COVID-19 pandemic approaches the two-year mark, the mental health crisis induced by it continues to escalate. With 14% of U.S. youth and 19% of adults suffering from mental illness, understanding the factors that influence mental health is a crucial endeavor. These efforts are led in part by Christina Bethell, director of the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative and professor of population, family and reproductive health at the School of Public Health. Over the past 25 years, Bethell has worked to tell the story of mental health in children at the national level, crafting research methods and determining which variables to study on the National Survey of Children’s Health. Her recent paper “Social and Relational Health Risks and Common Mental Health Problems Among... Read more

Lack of Rest Can Affect Emotions and Spirituality, says Neuroscientist

Mother of little Heitor, Journalist Mayra Marques values ​​moments of rest. "Rest has always been important for my physical, mental and spiritual well-being. When I can't prioritize it, the 'side effects' of [the] lack of [rest] appear. One of them is [a] loss of concentration”, she says. In most cases, the first few months after giving birth, challenge the mother's physical and emotional balance. Full dedication to the basic needs of the new member of the family reduces the moments of rest and even leads to sleep deprivation, which can lead to deprivation in other areas as well. Therefore, the young Mayra had to find her own way to regain her life balance and productivity. “I had to reorganize myself to maintain a healthy rhythm of rest with my son. Today, with him being seven months old, my rest has improved a lot, and it continues to be even better,... Read more

“Simple Tasks Seem Overwhelming to My Child”

Take your pick — the misconstrued labels for children with inattentive ADHD (once called ADD) are as vast and varied as the symptoms they manifest. Often misunderstood — or worse, neglected — at school, children with ADHD face unique challenges complicated by outdated ADHD stereotypes. Here, ADDitude readers share the biggest challenges their children with inattentive ADHD face at school and home. What struggles does your child with predominantly inattentive ADHD encounter? Share your stories in the Comments section below. “Mind-wandering is a challenge for my daughter when she needs to complete schoolwork, especially reading. She has a hard time focusing and will fixate on sounds around her (ticking clock, hallway conversation, foot-tapping classmate, etc.) rather than the one sound she needs to hear: Her teacher’s voice. However, her inattentiveness and mind-wandering are a total asset when she’s drawing, writing, or creating because it allows her to be fluid, make... Read more

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